Thursday, December 15, 2011

73 workshops... 4 weeks... no problem

What I'm reading now: Eragon, by Christopher Paolini
The random thing that's been stuck in my head for three days:

My four-week hiatus from The Novel ends this Saturday. My new sci-fi novel has done a pretty good job distracting me (I'm 94 pages in), but I'm very excited to get back into my first book. First a full read-through, forcing myself not to make any changes and just mark places where the pacing gets funky or something sounds off (read: mission impossible). Then another round of edits to correct those.

A couple weeks ago I planned to use the next month to go through the workshops in Mr. Maass' Breakout Novelist. I originally thought there were only 36. So I figured, two a day should bring me about flush with my deadline to get the draft to Ms. Chavez by January 15th for editing.

Then I read through another section of his book, and realized there aren't 36. There are 73.

If you don't see me for the next month, now you know why.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Why do you write? (No, really?)

What I'm Reading Now: The Breakout Novelist, by Donald Maass

The answer should be simple, but it's taken me forever to publish this post. Little background first: Donald Maass will be one of the guest speakers at the upcoming April writer's conference that I hope to introduce myself to, so I figured what better way to learn about Mr. Maass and challenge my current draft than pick up his most recent book? He's a literary agent with more than thirty years' experience and one of the names in publishing I most admire for all the time he takes to truly help authors, both published and not, take their work to the next level.

In the chapter I just finished, Mr. Maass asks, why are you writing your current novel? Back in March I would have replied with something like, "Because I love to write and I have to do it!" But any writer would answer that, and it hardly tells you anything about me. Writing is all about reaching deeper, something I've struggled with because it's putting pieces of me on paper that I'm much more comfortable keeping hidden. But I've realized I wrote The Novel because despite that, there's something rewarding about the process. They're just fictional characters, but they make choices I'd be far too cowardly to make, they push themselves harder than I'll ever have to push myself, and they persevere despite everything I throw at them. It's a chance to explore the answers to 'what if' questions from the safety of my couch. It's about discovery. It's about vulnerability.

So if you're a writer, whether it's a book or a blog or a diary, why do you write? No, really?

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